The Matryoshkas: (Emerging) Hidden Figures

Contributed by Eleanor Drage, 2017

Keywords: Matryoshka dolls, Watercolour

These dolls reflect the extensive genealogy of women writers of science fiction who have hidden their identities behind pseudonyms, including Alice Sheldon (James Tiptree Jr.) and Katharine Burdekin (Murray Constantine), or who have collaborated with their sons or (male) partners to be published, like Catherine Lucille Moore, María Guera, and Leigh Eddings.

The opening chapter of my PhD thesis traces a genealogy of women’s science fiction from 1666 to the present day. Some of these writers and their texts, particularly Spanish and Italian women writers, are difficult to track down because they did not publish under their birth names. This piece pays homage to these hidden figures, and to the difficulties they faced in asserting themselves within the science fiction community. This piece celebrates their work and legacy for women writers today, and says ‘we see you’.